The 3 Layers that Define Cloud Computing

Sam Bloedow

Uncover the Capabilities of Cloud Technology

Defining cloud computing as services that are available through a web interface only scratches the surface. Cloud computing entails the delivery of a variety of computing services over the internet. This can be achieved in a number of ways, but the three main layers of cloud computing services are:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Digging into the three cloud computing service layers will help uncover how these technologies can benefit your company so you can utilize scalable cloud technology to be more agile in how you respond to changing customer needs or market opportunities.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS is the layer of the cloud that you’re likely most familiar with. If you go to a web page and log in to access a tool or service, you are using SaaS.

Some SaaS offerings are free or at least free for a baseline set of services. Businesses utilize SaaS on a subscription basis for multiple functions, from HR, accounting and payroll to sales, marketing and project management. While the core functionality of the application is hosted on the provider’s servers, some apps require you to download software to your own PC or device. This extends the app’s capabilities in other ways, such as synchronizing with multiple devices.

The benefits of SaaS include easy entry and startup. Most apps allow you to add or subtract users as needed so that you only pay for what you use. The provider takes care of all software upgrades, support and uptime. Many SaaS industry applications can be integrated with one another to customize their use. For example, your marketing application could integrate with your prospect database, or your procurement application could integrate with your ERP software.

Platform as a Service (Paas)

If you aren’t a software programmer or web developer, you might not think that you’ll ever need PaaS. Perhaps the most overlooked of cloud computing service layers, PaaS is the best option to address your company’s requirements.

PaaS is where you can develop customized software, such as app construction and testing. You might use PaaS if you need to customize your industry-specific business application. Build and test it in the cloud before making it live for your company.

You can also test out a software update in a PaaS environment. This is beneficial if you’re concerned about how the update will affect your processes or if you have multiple customizations that could put other systems at risk.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

We define IaaS as a computing service that allows you to access the physical components of your infrastructure – hardware, software, storage and network workings –remotely via the internet. You no longer need to purchase or maintain the hardware that would normally provide these services; your infrastructure cloud layer makes them fully remote.

Your IaaS provider handles system maintenance, software updates, backup and security, so you don’t have to maintain that equipment. IaaS is good for companies that need to scale up or down quickly or that experience sudden changes in capacity. Subscriptions and pay-as-you-go arrangements eliminate capital expenses of investing in hardware.

These three layers of cloud architecture sometimes overlap. PaaS includes the infrastructure that goes with the platform. A well-managed cloud program leverages these three components to run your business safely and more efficiently.

Expert Cloud Advice and Support

Most companies need help to strategically align technology with their business goals. Thriveon offers ongoing IT strategy and consulting with outsourced IT services. We can help you navigate the three layers of cloud computing, understand the pros and cons of this technology and mitigate the risks.

Schedule a meeting today to get your questions answered and start building a secure network that serves your business needs.

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